Kitchens have a lot going on inside of them. As such, it’s important to know about the different categories of commercial kitchen equipment. It will ensure that all of your needs are met. Whether you’re a food truck, a diner, a fine-dining restaurant, or even a hotel, you’re likely going to need equipment from all four of the main categories.
Depending on the kind of menu that you produce, you’re going to have an array of ingredients that need to be stored. You’ll have fresh ingredients, frozen ingredients, and even dry ingredients.
The capacity of food storage is extremely individual in the facility that you maintain. The more volume you do, the more inventory you must have on hand. With larger inventory comes the need for more food storage.
You may need a small reach-in refrigerator for a low-volume operation, or you may need a massive walk-in such as what a hotel or theme park might require.
Every type of ingredient you store must be considered to maintain freshness and reduce the likelihood of contamination (from bugs, moisture, and other contaminants).
Some of the top equipment to explore for food storage includes:
•Prep coolers (for prepped or pre-cooked items)
Food preparation involves all of the equipment that allows you to turn raw ingredients into sauces, doughs, batters, and full meals.
Smaller food prep items will include such things as bowls, knives, whisks, measuring cups, and shredders.
The kind of food you will be preparing will make a difference in what you buy. If you are working with a lot of baked goods, you might need a dough roller. If you are working with a lot of meat, you may need a meat grinder and/or tenderizer.
You have to consider the food handlers’ laws, such as your need to clean and sanitize surfaces, wash produce, and clean up equipment in between use.
Workers may be slicing and dicing, mixing, and pressing a variety of ingredients. As such, you’ll need to give them room to work, complete with worktables, cutting boards, and more.
Some of the top prep equipment will include:
Cooking equipment is where the most money will be spent. This means that it’s critical to know what you are going to be cooking, how you’re going to cook it, and how fast you want to be able to get it to your customer.
There are a lot of multi-use cooking tools that will help you to cook more than one thing – ovens, fryers, and flat-top ranges are great examples.
If you are looking to produce food quickly, you may want to consider conveyer-style ovens and even microwaves.
If you are looking to create something unique or be known for a particular product, you may want to explore more specialized equipment. This can include coal pizza ovens, rotisseries, and even custom griddles and grills.
Some things you’ll want to consider when cooking includes the power source and the space that you have to dedicate to cooking equipment.
You won’t want to forget the small equipment that is used with the appliances, either. This includes everything from pots and pans to tongs and spatulas.
The way in which you prepare and serve the food should also be a consideration.
Common setups for a restaurant include:
How you plan on getting the food prepared and out to your customer will impact the kind of cooking equipment you need.
While some of the equipment may not cook the food, it may keep it warm. Such items include heat lamps to keep food warm until it’s brought to the table and steam tables that can keep food hot while it’s being served from the line.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Once you’ve bought the ingredients, prepped for the dishes you’re going to make, and cooked and served your guests, it’s time to clean. What you clean depends on the overall setup of your restaurant.
Obviously, all of the utensils, pots, and pans will need to be washed. If you are serving on plates and in bowls, those, too, will need to be cleaned.
Large capacity dishwashers can save you a significant amount of labor. They can also help you to get the job done quickly so you never run out of what you need. The average commercial dishwasher holds a significant amount and operates at a higher temperature than the one inside your home.
Dish warmers are a great thing to have. They will dry the dishes in a sanitary way so that you don’t have to dry everything by hand using a cloth.
The area that you use for cleaning should be away from the food storage, prep, and cooking areas. This is because you’ll be storing cleaning products and introducing a lot of water and steam into the environment.
Basic cleaning equipment will include:
•Buckets and mops
There’s also some maintenance that needs to be included so that you can meet health code and keep your environment operating properly. Ventilation systems and hoods need to be installed so that the air is filtered – and so that steam and smoke have a place to go.
Even beyond cleaning and maintenance, you have to think outside of the kitchen and into the dining room. How are orders going to be delivered to you? Will guests interact directly with the kitchen? Will staff use tablets that will send orders into printers in the kitchen? Or will there be POS stations that will send the orders up onto monitors? Either way, this is yet another form of equipment that has to be considered for your kitchen to be fully functioning.
Choosing Commercial Kitchen Equipment
When it comes time to choose commercial kitchen equipment, you’ll likely need to shop across all four categories. By working with a vendor, you can make sure that you’re finding equipment that meets your needs and your kitchen’s layout. An experienced vendor can also help you source the best equipment at competitive pricing.